Friday, 1 Mar 2024

Neighbours of YouTuber Ruby Franke feared kids would end up in body bags

The neighbour of a former family vlogger who was charged with child abuse has said he feared her children would ‘end up in body bags.’

Mum-of-six Ruby Franke, 41, ran the popular YouTube Channel ‘8 Passengers’ for seven years, sharing parenting advice and chronicling her family life in Utah.

She was this week charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse alongside her business partner Jodi Hildebrand after her son fled from home.

Franke’s neighbours have said they had been worried about the safety of her children for some time, and are relieved they are now in the care of child protection services.

‘Everyone is just breathing a collective sigh of relief because we thought they were going to come out of that house with body bags,’ a male neighbor told NBC News.

He accused Franke of withholding food as punishment – a discipline she shared and was heavily criticised for on her YouTube channel – and emotional abuse.

‘I remember that she took away their Christmas one year and she would say things like “they’re not repenting correctly,” which is a Mormon term for “they’re sinning.” Just complete insanity,’ he continued.

The neighbour also claimed that when husband Kevin was out of the family home, Franke would leave them alone for weeks at a time.

Franke’s arrest came after her 12-year-old son climbed out of a window in Hildebrandt’s home and ran to a neighbour’s house to ask for food and water.

The neighbour called 911 after noticing the boy appeared emaciated, looked to have suffered wounds, and had duct tape on his wrists and ankles. 

He was taken to hospital with injuries including ‘deep lacerations from being tied up with a rope’ and ‘malnourishment’.

Franke’s 10-year-old daughter was later found in a similar state and was also given medical attention. 

A female neighbour said she was deeply upset when she learned the condition the children were found in after the arrest.

‘I’m really angry because I spoke up. Other people spoke up, and nothing happened,’ she told NBC News.

‘I want those kids to know that the community loves them and wants them to be safe… I want those kids to know that because I think they thought they were abandoned.’

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